As a business leader, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you spend a lot of time communicating but feel that your words don’t seem to resonate with your employees? While your team members act on the most important directives, your employees just don’t seem as motivated and energized as you’d like. According to executive coach Amy Jen Su, the solution is to develop your leadership voice. Her book, The Leader You Want to Be, explains that successful leaders need to do more than just convey facts and build their presence. To do so, she suggests developing several aspects of your voice.
Su writes, “This is the part of your voice that is constant and consistent…grounded in fundamental principles about whom you chose to be.” One of her suggestions is to develop a mantra that sums up your key leadership principles. Here are a few examples of mantras you can use:
- “Focus on what’s best for the business”
- “Be direct with respect”
When pressed for time, leaders have the tendency to dive right into the details of a presentation without taking a moment to deliver the big picture. You need to take a few extra minutes to set the stage with some critical context. As you grow in your career and take on increasingly senior roles, Su notes that your perspective of the business grows. Part of your job then becomes finding ways of communicating that bigger picture to others.
If your workplace is rather intense, you have the responsibility of keeping your team focused on the most important priorities, else you risk having a team that ends up being scattered and unfocused. Do your best to refrain from being too reactive, like musing out loud or firing off new possibilities, because then your team will try to deliver on their every whim.
As a leader, your responsibility is to give direction, share information, and make important decisions. You don’t necessarily have all the answers, and you shouldn’t approach every situation as if you do. Su advises that it’s best to be the voice of curiosity. If your peers push back from a different perspective, take a moment to understand where they’re coming from, and use that to your advantage to arrive at the best solution.
The more influential you become, the more difficult it becomes to connect with a broadening set of colleagues, strategic networks, and teams. Even though it can be tempting to get right to business, take a few minutes to break the ice and build rapport. Another suggestion from Su is to hone your skill as a storyteller, for stories make our points more memorable.